One and Done

The Minnesota Golden Gophers hoped to have another magical run in this years Big Ten Tournament—similar to last season when they went to the Big Ten Championship game. It wasn't to be this year as they fell to the Northwestern Wildcats 75-65 in the opening game of the tournament.

The game started off with a back and forth matching each other shot for shot for the first five minutes of the game. Then the Wildcats went on a run to push their lead to 12-6. The Gophers were able to battle back and tie the game at 21-21 with 6:23 left in the first half. They would then take a 24-21 lead just 30 seconds later but it would not last as the Wildcats came back and took the lead at the half 32-30.

In the second half the Gophers were able to take a 40-38 lead on the strength of seven points from Trevor Mbakwe and a 3-pointer by senior Blake Hoffarber. The Gophers held the lead until 12:08, when Alex Marcotullio hit a 3-pointer that would put the Wildcats in the lead for good at 45-44. From that point on the Gophers struggled to contain Wildcats' senior guard Michael Thompson who would end the day with 35 points—a Big Ten Tournament single game record.

The Gophers' offense and defense struggled throughout the game with the Wildcats holding Minnesota to two long field goal droughts. The first of which extended from the first half into the second half which lasted nine minutes and thirteen seconds and then another four minute forty-five second drought during which the Wildcats took a commanding eleven point lead. The Gophers could find no answer for the Wildcats' Princeton style offense, which was able to drive and cut all day through the Gophers defense.

Minnesota wwas led by junior forward Trevor Mbakwe with 19 points, junior center Ralph Sampson III with 12 points and senior guard Blake Hoffarber with 13 points. The Gophers struggled over their last 11 games with this latest loss dropping them to 1-10 in that stretch.


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